Ryan Payton, the creative director of the recently-successful Kickstarter project titled “République,” had some things to say about his studio’s experiences with Kickstarter, and a challenge that completely threw them for a loop. Payton and his coworkers worked meticulously to ensure that the Kickstarter page for République was as professional as possible, but this level of polish caused gamers to criticize them, questioning why they need to look for crowd-sourced funding if they are as professional as they look.
“We decided that we would communicate some of our studio’s values (high quality, meaningful, honest) through our Kickstarter page and video. Maybe if people saw how beautiful our game was, how pro our trailer was, and how polished our pitch was, they’d get behind our ambitious aims for Republique — or so we thought,” Payton said. “A week into our campaign, we were surprised to see dozens of comments online from people saying: ‘Look at that game, look at how expensive their video looks… They don’t need our money.’ Meanwhile, our company bank account was getting dangerously low.”
Payton worked with outside studios to create the most impressive trailer for the game as was feasible, and the onlookers saw something which looked like it didn’t need donations at all.
“Initially, I was frustrated at the ‘too polished’ complaints, especially when I remembered the late nights and weekends Craig Cerhit put into our video content. I often thought about the rich guys on Kickstarter intentionally making rough-looking webcam videos to appeal to peoples’ charitable instincts and subsequently pull in six or seven figures in pledges,” he said. “While aggravating, I understood the point. While I don’t necessarily agree with the commonly used analogy that running a Kickstarter is a digital form of panhandling, if that were true, I was standing on a street corner in a freshly pressed suit holding an iPad with a typed out message ‘Need money. Anything helps.’”
Payton goes on to say that things turned around for the better when later on during the Kickstarter’s run, the reception of the project improved, with more fans finding their way to it, and reinforcing it with positive support and feedback. République’s Kickstarter was launched on April 11 2012 and barely reached it’s funding goal of $5oo thousand on the last day of the project’s run. The game will be launching on iOS, PC, and Mac if and when it is finished.